A taste of Japan in far away Australia

Water cascades down the 'mountain river'

Water cascades down the ‘mountain river’

Travelling through the centre of NSW in Australia, one comes across a lot of country which has been cleared of vegetation to permit large-scale agriculture. Small towns dot the landscape and it is quite the last place one would expect to find a large, beautifully maintained, very green and peaceful garden. But there is just such a place and it is in the town of Cowra.

Cowra has a history which links it to the people of Japan – it was the location of a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. Amazingly, in modern times, this has resulted in a strong bond being formed between the town and what was formerly an enemy nation. Indeed, in the early 6os, the Japanese even gathered their war dead from all across Australia and re-buried them in Cowra.

Beautiful water falls cascade over carefully created river beds

Beautiful water falls cascade over carefully created river beds

To celebrate this bond and provide a place to promote the cultural relations between the two, Cowra is now home to an exquisite Japanese Garden.

The design of the garden shows its Japanese heritage – and it includes the six elements of mountain, rocks, pines; the water features of mountain lakes and mountain waterfalls, and finally rivers entering oceans. Incorporating all these in an inland, dry, flat landscape was a feat in itself! A small hill represents the mountain and the beautifully constructed water features cascade from the top of this hill to the delightful lakes in the valley below.

The large lake at the centre of the garden

The large mountain lake at the centre of the garden is so peaceful. The Open Teahouse is in the centre and the hill can be seen in the background.

I enjoy well maintained gardens and this one is a treat! I also delight in aquatic features, and these abound here! Consequently, when I was in Cowra recently, I decided to re-visit the gardens, to soak up some of the ambience and to capture some of the vistas for future enjoyment. I also came away very inspired to construct some of the great water features in my own garden!

Exquisite use of decoration

Exquisite use of decoration sets the Japanese cultural tone and is a good spot for ducks to rest!

As it was early in spring, I had hoped to arrive while the fruit trees were out in flower. Alas, it was a bit early – they had started blooming, but the garden was still more green than pink and white.

Despite being unmistakably Japanese in design, I like the way the Australian flora has been allowed to blend with other species in each section of the garden. Eucalyptus trees are a feature of the wide grassed areas and they create a nice background to the rest of the garden.

Water is a common feature of the garden

Water is a common feature of the garden. Flowering fruit trees just coming into bloom the background.

This mix of species really does capture the melding of spirits between the people of Cowra and their friends in Japan. The buildings in the garden are used for traditional ceremonies as well as being used as meeting places. Other buildings are specialised centres where educational programs feature prominently.

This garden is a wonderful green space in what can be a very hot and dry rural area. It is the perfect reply to the WordPress Weekly Challenge: Green!

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17 Responses to A taste of Japan in far away Australia

  1. Colline says:

    What a magical place! A perfect place to soak in some tranquility, I think.


    • Madoqua says:

      It is lovely Colline. I have not been there in the middle of summer (it gets pretty hot in Cowra), but I think the water would have such a cooling effect. (Or they might con one into thinking it was cooler!)


  2. Kelvin says:

    Enjoyed this Cuz thanks await more


  3. The place almost feels magical…


    • Madoqua says:

      It is very pretty, and like all traditional Japanese gardens, is impeccably maintained. I think that all the water features make the difference though. A perfect place to go if you needed to do some serious thinking!


  4. adinparadise says:

    I love Japanese gardens, and this one is really beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Green | Life of 24 Hours

  6. restlessjo says:

    Beautiful! The last Japanese garden I visited was in Wroclaw in Poland, on a family visit. It was lovely too. Hi Madoqua- I’m visiting courtesy of Lisa of Playamart.


    • Madoqua says:

      Jo, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Poland is certainly not where I would expect to find a Japanese garden, but then I guess Australia is not a likely option either!


  7. I’m really touched to know the site of the tragic misunderstandings that resulted in the Cowra Breakout has become a spot of cultural healing and community spirit. On top of which, I love your use of a Japanese garden for the green theme – a great post ๐Ÿ™‚


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